Spanking new lever for the toilet door.
Photo by Wuan.
Malaysia Airports gets two thumbs up for their responsiveness to my complaint regarding the faulty toilet lock at the Penang International Airport. To recap, I got trapped in the same toilet for PWD twice. Subsequently, I emailed a complaint to Cik Noor Hafiza Ruslan, Senior Executive of Corporate Communications for Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.
Encik Aznan of Malaysia Airports’ Terminal Operation Services called up several days later to apologize and discussed about my complaint. He later followed-up with an email informing me that they have rectified the problem of the faulty toilet lock at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport as well.
When we landed at the Penang International Airport last Thursday, I dragged Wuan along to check on that particular toilet. I am happy to report that the door knob has been replaced with a lever. Kudos to Malaysia Airports for the prompt action. It certainly will alleviate the apprehension should I need to use the toilets there the next time.
I have also sent an email to Malaysia Airports to commend them on their quick action in resolving this problem. It is a reflection of a responsible corporate citizen that is sensitive to the needs of its clients. I wish all corporations and authorities will emulate Malaysia Airports where accessibility issues of the PWDs are concerned.
Each time a valid complaint from a PWD regarding accessibility is looked into and addressed, it leads us closer to a truly barrier-free environment. This will allow us to integrate into society more effectively. Many PWDs possess the skills and desire but not the opportunities to contribute meaningfully. A barrier-free environment is the first step to liberating us from the all too familiar confines of our own homes or institutions.
Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to observe two contrasting examples of the human nature. Wuan and I were at Mid Valley Megamall and as usual, the highlights of our trips there were looking for a toilet for PWDs to enable me to perform intermittent catheterization. In the vast complex, it is sometimes difficult to find one’s bearings, especially when it is packed with weekend shoppers. My bladder was already full and I needed to drain it immediately. I breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the sign pointing to lavatories.
When we reached the toilet for PWDs, a non-disabled couple had already opened the door and was about to enter when they saw me. The wife, who was pregnant was obviously in distress, her face cringed in discomfort as she held on to her bulging abdomen. They stopped in their tracks for a moment, wondering whether to go in or not. The husband gestured for me to use the toilet first but I indicated that they could use it. I guess they chose that particular toilet because the husband could help the wife in there. After all, if he did not need to help his wife, they could have used the normal toilet within the same premises.
Not wanting to wait for my turn, we scampered all over the mall looking for another toilet until Wuan suggested that we use the toilet in Cititel’s lobby again. I am always attracted to clean toilets like bees to honey. Unfortunately, that toilet was locked from inside. We thought someone could be using it and waited outside for a while. Along came a middle-aged woman who evidently was not using a wheelchair and did not walk with a limp. She turned the doorknob a few times, ignoring the fact that I was in the queue waiting to use it. When she failed to open it, walked three steps and disappeared into the normal toilet. I glared at her when she came out but she acted nonchalant.
Some people have the mind to comprehend that toilets for PWDs were built for a purpose. The pregnant lady had to use the toilet but she recognised the fact that it was built for people like me. They graciously accorded us that priority even though the needed to use it in haste. Some are simply inconsiderate and abuse such amenities for their own convenience. Time and again, I have stressed that amenities for PWDs is not a privilege but a necessity. We need these to be able to integrate into society. PWDs have every right to go out and enjoy a barrier-free environment as anybody else. Please do not make it more difficult for us than it already is. Think before abusing such facilities and depriving the people who really need to use it from using it.
Encik Aznan sent me an email yesterday. In the mail, he stated that they have investigated and rectified the problem at the toilet for disabled persons behind the Tie Shop at Level 5, KLIA. At the same time, he requested that I provide them with a photo of a door lever suitable for such amenities, which I did in my reply just now.
As I will be away for a few days beginning tomorrow, I told him that I would provide additional information when I return. However, the main issue, which was the toilet for disabled persons in Penang International Airport, was not mentioned. This I will pursue when I return.
Response From Malaysia Airports